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Graduate School E-Newsletter [Vanderbilt University]

January 8, 2021

Dear Graduate Students,

Happy New Year!  It is my hope that you experienced some rest and relaxation over the holidays.  As we prepare for the spring semester, the main goal is that we return to campus as healthy as possible.  There are numerous protocols in place to support the health of our community and reduce the risk of transmission of the COVID virus.

Unfortunately, during the last two weeks, there has been a rise in the number of positive COVID-19 cases among graduate and professional students. The highest risk activities prior to returning to campus are likely to be traveling to campus and engaging in social activities before classes begin, as well as the actions taken outside of the classroom during the spring semester. Our success in preventing and lower transmission will depend on what you do now and once you arrive.

We all must take the same personal responsibility we took in the fall to protect ourselves and others. Before you arrive, continue to mask, physically distance yourself from others, avoid gatherings and keep yourself safe during travel. Once you get here, continue those efforts. It is imperative that you still follow university protocols to protect your health and safety and that of others as much as possible this semester. Wearing your mask and physical distancing are the most effective and only preventative measure available to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

As we shared in December, we have updated our spring semester testing program and adjusted our quarantine guidelines based on new CDC guidance. Graduate and professional students who participate in regular in-person, on-campus, academic-related activities will be included in the mandatory spring semester testing program. A key component of the spring testing program include will be arrival testing in January at the Testing Center.

If you have not yet received an email from your school’s testing coordinator about your arrival testing time slot, you will receive that email within the next week. More details will be provided in that message. You can expect to receive arrival testing results in approximately 36 hours and must have a negative test result to begin in-person activities on campus.

Students are required to shelter in place until they receive a negative test result. Our expectations for sheltering in place:

  • Students should not attend in-person classes.
  • Interpersonal interactions should be virtual. Students should not participate in in-person gatherings or social interactions.
  • Students should remain in their residences, primarily in their rooms, leaving only to pick up food or for medical appointments.


  • Graduate and professional students will receive an email no later than Jan. 14 with details about logging into YES to register for their weekly COVID-19 testing.
  • Students will register for a time block (day of the week to test), which will appear on students’ course schedule in a manner similar to a class. Students will report for testing in the same time block weekly.
  • Students who are not registered for their testing slot will not be allowed back on campus.
  • Testing will be conducted in the David R. Williams II Recreation and Wellness Center Sunday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • More information about arrival testing and our new mandatory graduate student weekly testing program can be found on the Return to Campus website.


If you have a VU parking permit, you can park in Lot 27 near the Rec Center or the 25th Avenue Garage or West Garage. If you do not have a VU parking permit, there is visitor parking allotted in the 25th Avenue Garage.  You can then walk across the street toward the Rec Center and the entrance is across from where it says “lacrosse stadium” on the map.  There is signage to direct you. You can view a parking map here.


If you have any questions or need additional information, please send inquiries to graduateschool@vanderbilt.edu. Please note and pay particular attention to additional information you may get from the individual school or college in which your graduate program is housed.



C. André Christie-Mizell

Vice Provost of Graduate Education

Dean of the Graduate School





Need assistance?  Send us an email if you need support or would like guidance on identifying available university resources.

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Stay informed:  visit the Return to Campus websiteFAQ page for graduate studentsResearch@Vanderbilt and the COVID-19 Dashboard for current updates on the Vanderbilt community. Together, we can slow the spread of COVID-19—learn more at Anchor Down, Step Up.

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